Michael Weber: Random Bits and Pieces

Before I forget this again: Fn-Shift-PageUp and Fn-Shift-PageDown key strokes send PageUp and PageDown to the Terminal, respectively. Why this is again reversed behavior by default (like with Function keys), I have no idea.

Apple Terminal Icon

On MacOS X, the default focus model is click-to-focus, presumably for hysterical raisins. There is not even a real choice. While tools like MondoMouse come with an option to enable a focus-follows-mouse policy, I found it does not work too well. Many OS X applications started behaving strangely.

However, at least Apple's Terminal.app can be changed to behave sensibly with respect to focus-follows-mouse. This hopefully prevents most instances of keyboard input going to the wrong window. To activate:


defaults write com.apple.Terminal FocusFollowsMouse -string YES

To deactivate:


defaults write com.apple.Terminal FocusFollowsMouse -string NO

UPDATE 2008-01-08: Another Satisfied MondoMouse User

Some time after I wrote this entry, Tom Harrington emailed me, and asked what snags I encountered in MondoMouse. I could not tell him specifics any more, as the 30-day trial period had expired by then. Very kindly, he provided me with a complimentary licence, so that I could try it out again. Kudos to him!

Now, a year onwards, I am happy (and heavy!) user of MondoMouse, namely its window moving and resizing features. As time progressed, I have not felt a need anymore for the Focus-Follows-Mouse feature. It might have improved by now.

SSHKeychain Icon

I found SSHKeyChain to be one of the most useful utilities on MacOS X so far. The Website states Painless ssh key management for MacOS X and they don't exaggerate. I can just import new ssh keys (the ever growing list of SVN+SSH repositories...) and stop thinking about them. Apple's Keychain takes care of the passphrase management.

In addition, it comes with a small environment property list editor built-in: Screenshot: SSKeyChain Property list editor

UPDATE 2009-06-15: Outdated

Since MacOS 10.5 Leopard, SSHKeyChain is no longer needed. The version of SSH that comes with the OS is integrated nicely with KeyChain Access.

I am using the F1–F12 keys much more as Function keys than I change display brightness settings or volume. That's why I changed the default behavior of the Fn modifier: pressing F1 now really sends F1 to the application, and Fn-F1 accesses hardware settings.

This option hides in plain sight: it's in the Keyboard&Mouse settings: Screenshot: Keyboard&Mouse settings

Subject says it all: Easier German Umlauts on US Keyboard for MacOS X

The keyboard layout uses Alt as Mode switch key. For example, Alt-a produces ä, Alt-s produces ß, etc.  However, the placement of some letters and dead keys is slightly annoying: Dead acute (') is on Alt-e, instead of Alt-'. Why?! Because of é? What about á, then?

(I will put it on my evergrowing todo list, maybe I will change it one day.)

Small aside rant: I wanted a US American keyboard layout when I ordered my MacBook. I got one with US International layout, which is mostly the same, but not quite. Some keys are in different positions. This is not helpful. HATE.

UPDATE 2006-11-06: Return of the Dead (Acute)

Volker kindly pointed out that the placement of dead acute on Alt-e is just following Apple's layout. Unfortunately, it does not make that choice any better.

Well, at least I perhaps might have a chance to read up on why Apple decided so in its Human Interface Guidelines... ;-)

p.s.: It's fun to have somebody on the other side of the world reading your drivel. You put it online in the evening, and the next morning the reviews are waiting for you on your favourite instant messaging network... :-D

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